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The Chess Web (Hitchhiker's training journal) 
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Post Re: The Chess Web (Hitchhiker's training journal)
I admit I have strong opinions :P But I also have the chess strength to back about a third of them up, just enough so people think I know what I talk about. ;) The bottom line is if I play Alekhine I can play Pirc as well and in that case I'd pick Pirc over Alekhine without a thought.

If you don't mind give a short overview of 1...Nc6 here? Could be interesting for other people too. I have to say though that I am a bit skeptical mostly because it would be a new opening and that is something I wanted to avoid right now if possible.


Tue Jan 04, 2011 10:12 am
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Post Re: The Chess Web (Hitchhiker's training journal)
Alright, here are some of the more important lines (imo):

1. e4 Nc6 2. d4 d5 3. Nc3 dxe4 4. d5 Ne5 is supposed to be perfectly fine for Black. I don't know much about this mainline though.
1. e4 Nc6 2. d4 d5 3. Nc3 e5!? My creative attempt to make the position even more interesting. I prefer this line, even though it's probably not as sound (you can just stick to the mainline though).

1. e4 Nc6 2. d4 d5 3. exd5 Qxd5 and now for example 4. Nf3 Bg4 5. Be2 0-0-0 6. Nc3 Qd7 and so on (or c3, c4, etc.) a lot of ways to play this for White. Again, I don't know the theory, but I like the rapid development, the imbalances in the position and the Tschigorin-like character of the position (1. d4 d5 2. c4 Nc6). You can prepare e5, try to attack the d4-pawn or go all-out on the kingside. There's also the Marshall gambit for White 4. Nc3 Qxd4 5. Qe2, but nobody knows that line anyway.

1. e4 Nc6 2. d4 d5 3. e5 Bf5 with the idea of Qd7, 0-0-0, f6, Nh6-f7, and so on. My system, anyway.

1. e4 Nc6 2. Nf3 e5 (of course)
1. e4 Nc6 2. Nf3 f5!? Colorado gambit, recommended by IM Ilja Schneider (you probably know him). I'm still waiting for his book on the gambit. Visit his schachzoo-blog and look for his annotated Colorado-games, if you're interested (although the critical lines are very chaotic, not the kind of opening you're looking for). If 3. exf5 d5 is the move btw.
1. e4 Nc6 2. Nf3 Nf6 I was introduced to this by one of Zibbit's videos. Love this line ! 3. e5 Ng4 4. d4 d6 5. h3 Nh6 (El Columpio) Again, very creative play by Black.
1. e4 Nc6 2. Nf3 Nf6 3. Nc3 can be played, of course. 3..e5 would be the normal response, but I like to play 3...e6, which can transpose into an exch French or a Nc6-French with a quick f6 by Black.

1. e4 Nc6 2. Nc3 not a very popular move, but ok, you can play 2..e5, as always, but I'd go for 2...Nf6. Now that I look at it, I definitely have to take a look at 2.. d6 with the idea of f5, which could transpose into a good Latvian line for Black (?).

Lots of options, as you can see. What I like about the opening is the uniqueness of the positions, that can arise, and the subsequent winning chances for Black. Also, you don't really have to know any theory.

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Tue Jan 04, 2011 10:49 am
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Post Re: The Chess Web (Hitchhiker's training journal)
I know the one line from Zibbit's videos, but I forgot about the e4 e5 transposition. Maybe an interesting sideline for that reason, avoids all the minor tries by White and also the King's Gambit which has given me some trouble.

vs d4

I've tried the Modern Averbakh, the Slav, the Tarrasch, the QGD Tartakower, the KID, the Nimzo, the Ragozin, the Blumenfeld. This part of the repertoire is more tricky because depending on the move order I would have to play 3 different openings.

Modern Averbakh is playable, and even interesting, but really not what I want to play. KID seems like a better choice if I am forced to play one of the two, which could happen if I use the Pirc with the Modern move order to get into Tiger's Modern lines.
Slav is solid and ok. Not enthused though. It's a bit rigid for my tastes structurewise. Not a bad opening by any means though.
KID I've only played this a couple of times but it seems lots of theory with same-ish kind of positions. I have no real opinion on it, but I'm not really interested at this point. It seems like it would be hard to learn all the small differences between all these highly theoretical positions for Black and also I can probably expect my opponent to know the line he plays quite well. Don't want to play against somebody's memory only.
Nimzo...yeah, great pedigree and it's probably the best opening against d4 objectively. But I get my behind handed to me when I play it. Needs either lots of work to understand and play properly or is simply not for me. I don't quite understand why I fail so hard at playing it. :P Still a candidate simply for it's objective merits and the educational value.
Tarrrasch. I've heard great things about this and it seems like an interesting opening to me. I've only played a handful of games, so no real opinion. It's a candidate for later, because as I already said above, I don't want to try new things right now for Black. Seems dynamic and I live isolated queen's pawns.
QGD Tartalower. Oh my God I love this opening! Has this smooth classical feel to it, plus lots of positional complexity. Black can almost always play for a win in the endgame too. Extremely solid too. Tempted!

Now, unless I want to play the QGD via d4 d5 only (which would rob me of a lot of flexibility) I not only have to play something against d4 Nf6 c4 e6 Nc3 but also against 3. Nf3. 3...d5 is likely to transpose into the main line after Nc3 Be7, but there are other options there. After 4.Nc3 there is Bb4, the Ragozin, with which I really like. it is a QGD/Nimzo hybrid, very strong, but mostly played by elite Gms. That's a good advertisment I would think.
Next the Blumenfeld comes about after 1.d4 Nf6 2.c4 e6 3.Nf3 c5 and is also fairly attractive. Games by Nisipeanu have really intrigued me and the few times I've tried it I really liked it, even though I haven't had great success with it.

Conclusion: In the end I think QGD Tartakower is clearly my main opening here. Ragozin and Blumenfeld are both good to know simply to be able to spice it up now and then. That "spice it up" option would be lacking against 1.d4 Nf6 2.c4 e6 3.Nc3, but unless I play the Benoni proper, which I am not going to because I don't trust it, I don't see a lot of options there, the Queen's Indian isn't exactly suited for that. It might be that the Tarrasch is the solution there. Or the KID or the Grünfeld.

QGD Tartalower/Ragozin/Blumfeld
Tarrasch/KID/Grünfeld/Nimzo for later?


Wed Jan 05, 2011 4:13 am
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Post Re: The Chess Web (Hitchhiker's training journal)
I just got the first book of the Kasparov vs Karpov series, about the first and second matches. I feel really stupid when I look at the jungle of variations. :lol: Clearly that's a level I'll never ever get to, but I'll still work my way through that book taking Kasparov's side move for move, or at least interesting positions. Should be a good learning experience and also I'll feel good if I get a move right that Kasparov didn't...even though he has reasons to chose the "wrong" variation whereas I'm just missing those and chose the right one because of that. :P


Sun Jan 09, 2011 4:57 pm
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Post Re: The Chess Web (Hitchhiker's training journal)
I could definitely advise the first repertoire against d4. Looks like a lot of fun. The nimzo and the grunfeld are both huge forests. You should definitely play them as a main opening if you decide to play them. Same goes for the KID, if you decide to play it, it´s best to exclusively try to play the kid. Otherwise you will get to much stuck on theory I think.

Well goodluck! Let us now how it plays out in practice.

Btw, what are you going to do against 1. Nf3 and c4. It´s important to make sure you can transpose to your usual openings.


Sun Jan 09, 2011 6:17 pm
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Post Re: The Chess Web (Hitchhiker's training journal)
I use the Nf6 e6 d5 move-order for the QGD and that works pretty well against English/Reti type setups.


Mon Jan 10, 2011 2:01 am
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Post Re: The Chess Web (Hitchhiker's training journal)
Woohoo! I'm gonna play a tournament tomorrow. Real excited about it and tournament chess in general. Can't wait to play. I should review my bogo indian though.


Fri Jan 14, 2011 6:26 am
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Post Re: The Chess Web (Hitchhiker's training journal)
Interesting game that shows how important activity is in the endgame.


[WhiteElo "1780"][BlackElo "1560"][TimeControl "300"]

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Wed Jan 19, 2011 6:11 am
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Post Re: The Chess Web (Hitchhiker's training journal)
Nice game, Hitch! Activity is important.

BTW, sorry I posted in you journal, I thought I posted in my own :s


Wed Jan 19, 2011 8:13 am
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Post Re: The Chess Web (Hitchhiker's training journal)
Interesting gambit !

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Wed Jan 19, 2011 11:38 am
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Post Re: The Chess Web (Hitchhiker's training journal)
Hiddie wrote:
Nice game, Hitch! Activity is important.

BTW, sorry I posted in you journal, I thought I posted in my own :s


No worries, I didn't even realize until today. :lol:

Fox wrote:
Interesting gambit !


I'm not sure it's correct, but it was just a Blitz game anyway. He doesn't have to exchange all his developed pieces, and then it would be harder for me to drum something up, even though I have some pressure I have to be careful. Pretty sure 10.Nf3 is much better than what he did and even on move 11 he doesn't have to exchange.


Wed Jan 19, 2011 12:46 pm
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Post Re: The Chess Web (Hitchhiker's training journal)
Hitchhiker wrote:
Fox wrote:
Interesting gambit !


I'm not sure it's correct, but it was just a Blitz game anyway. He doesn't have to exchange all his developed pieces, and then it would be harder for me to drum something up, even though I have some pressure I have to be careful. Pretty sure 10.Nf3 is much better than what he did and even on move 11 he doesn't have to exchange.

I think you got enough compensation in all the lines. Pretty sure he can't hold on to the pawn and the bishop pair.

Strange KG, anyway. 3. Qf3 looks interesting, but also .. wrong. Kinda like 2...Bc5, which I really want to crush every time I face it, but it always turns out to be really tough. Some day, though ..

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Wed Jan 19, 2011 1:13 pm
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Post Re: The Chess Web (Hitchhiker's training journal)
Bc5 has sound positional and tactical justifications and therefore can't be crushed. :P Qf3 I'm pretty sure is objectively a bad move, but of course who's going to refute it in a Blitz game by finding the positional line that takes best advantage of the early Queen move...


Wed Jan 19, 2011 4:15 pm
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Post Re: The Chess Web (Hitchhiker's training journal)
Just crushed my opponent in my latest league game. I'll post the game tomorrow, but it was basically over after move 11. He played for another 35 moves with two pieces down unfortunately, marred the pretty miniature.


Sat Feb 19, 2011 3:40 pm
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Post Re: The Chess Web (Hitchhiker's training journal)
Good work, Hitch!

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Sat Feb 19, 2011 8:34 pm
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